Dusty Gomon, E-Twins triple crown threat

By Allen LaMountain
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
alamountain@starhq.com

   Dusty Gomon has been swinging at professional pitches for just over a year now, but he already seems to have developed a knack for knocking baseball's out of ballyards.
   "I'm just here to play, but yeah why not go for it," joked Gomon when asked if he was shooting for the Appalachian League home run record. "I'm here to have fun and learn the game of baseball, and we have some of the best teachers of the game here that you could ask for."
   One of those teachers, manager Ray Smith said of Gomon early in the season, "He's getting by on raw talent right now. But when he really learns what he's doing up there (at the plate) he's going to be something special."
   Gomon, drafted out of Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville, Fla. and signed by Minnesota Twins scout Brad Weitzel, has been giving Appalachian League pitchers a primer for how not to pitch to him.
   What Gomon has shown thusfar is an ability to hit to all fields with power, and that means he isn't vulnerable to the off-speed stuff that generally frustrates younger players.
   "I work a lot on hitting the ball the other way," Gomon said. "I'm gaining confidence in that ability and I hope that continues to be a key for my success."
   A three-year letterman and an All-State performer in baseball at Parker H.S. Gomon also excelled at soccer, but said of that, "I was a goalkeeper, so it was pretty easy. I didn't have to learn ball-handling and stuff like that. I'm tall so that's why they put me in goal."
   After a bit of a slow start with the long ball, Gomon has been on a tear of late that has seen him hit six home runs in the last six games, and leads the Appy League in round-trippers with 10 at this writing.
   Gomon's numbers are nothing short of spectacular, with a .376 batting average to go along with his league-leading 10 HR's, and 27 RBI, which means Gomon is averaging an RBI per game.
   Gomon trails Martinsville's Freddy Acevedo in RBI by just one and his batting average puts him second to Kingsport's Aaron Baldiris' .430 mark, which means that if Gomon continues to hit the way he has, he will be the first Triple Crown threat the E-Twins have had since 1999 when Ruben Salazar made a bid at the feat.
   Gomon credits his high school coach Howard May with a lot of his development, and of whom Gomon said, "He was a big influence in my life. He taught me how to behave on and off the field and matured me real quick."
   After being signed, Gomon got his first taste of professional baseball in the Gulf Coast League, playing for the GCL Twins. Gomon had a strong batting average, but hit just two home runs in 19 games, but he also suffered a serious injury along the way.
   "I broke the ulna bone near my elbow," Gomon explained. "About halfway through the season I got injured and didn't play much until spring training this year."
   Gomon is feeling no ill effects from his injury and is on a mission to put a hurting on baseball's pitched his way.
   "One key for me is patience," said Gomon. "And I have some of the best guys in baseball to work with me. Jeff (Reed) and Ray have both been to the show and have a lot of experience -- not only on how to play the game, but how to behave like a professional."
   Gomon also credits his father Allen and his mother Vicky for providing plenty of the kind of support a youngster needs saying, "My dad was always there, coaching me through Little League and stuff like that. He's a good guy."
   Gomon is proving himself to be a good guy as well, staying late to sign autographs for the kids that line up outside the players clubhouse gate, and is already a fan favorite at Joe O'Brien Field.
   Of his time as a professional Gomon said, "It's been a blast. This is a great group of guys that we have here, and I hope we can all stay together as we move up. The fans here have been great too. You can't beat southern hospitality."